a seismic wave that travels along or parallel to the earth's surface (distinguished from body wave).
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Words nearby surface wave
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020
Scientific definitions for surface wave
A seismic wave that travels across the surface of the Earth as opposed to through it. Surface waves usually have larger amplitudes and longer wavelengths than body waves, and they travel more slowly than body waves do. Love waves and Rayleigh waves are kinds of surface waves. Compare body wave. See Note at earthquake.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.